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Salford residents to launch safe haven for the City’s Swifts

This weekend residents in Swinton, Salford, will be coming together to launch the city’s first Swift Street 

Homes in Trevor Road will host 17 new nest boxes which will provide a safe space for swifts to breed.

The idea is the brainchild of Salford resident and nature lover Gail Messenger, who posted an image on Twitter of swifts nesting in the eaves of her Trevor Road home.

The RSPB joined forces with Manchester based company Suez, who are a waste management team, who offer their staff one day a year paid to volunteer for a charity.

A workshop was set up by the RSPB in August, where Suez staff helped residents of the street to make their own next boxes.

Electricians, fitters, planners and apprentices from Suez all gave a helping hand.

Gail said: “It has been brilliant to work together as a street to make this happen.

“We can’t wait to hear the calls of the swifts as they return next summer and hopefully choose some of our nests as their home.

“What’s brilliant is that once swifts have found a place to call home, they will usually return to the same place each year so we should be lucky enough to have generations of swifts coming straight from Trevor Road.

“Watching the swifts return each year is as thrilling as seeing the Red Arrows.”

According to the RSPB, swift numbers have declined by more than half over the last 20 years and are now on the UK’s red list for conservation concern.

This means they are of the highest priority for conservation action.

One of the key reasons for this decline is due to a loss of nesting sites.

Each year globe-trotting swifts migrate thousands of miles from the UK to Africa and back again.

The only time they land is when they return for the UK summer to nest.

At the end of their gruelling journey swifts are on the lookout for spaces to nest in the high crevices of buildings or loft spaces.

These sites are often found in older buildings, but as some of these have been lost in cities and towns across the UK, this has meant less space for swifts to make their home.

Nest sites are lost as older buildings are demolished, renovated or insulated.

Swifts will return to the same space each year to breed and may find their nest site gone or access blocked by plastic soffits or insulation.

Hanna Derewnicka, RSPB Manchester Community Project Officer, said“Swift streets play a vital role in supporting the populations of these incredible species in our cities.

“This project is a beautiful example of the Salford community coming together, taking action for these charismatic birds that really need our help.

“We need to value our swifts and in Greater Manchester they are a characteristic part of the urban landscape and a magical fixture of a summer sky.  Their loss would be awful, they are just so unique.”

Lending their support to the project are Louise Bentley, founder of the Bolton and Bury Swifts Group and Manchester based swift enthusiast Tania Hoare.

Tania said: “We all need to be working together to save nature. By providing these hand-crafted boxes, residents are ensuring the birds have a permanent place to call home.”

To find out more about creating a swift box visit:

The RSPB is also working with other groups across Manchester such as the Bury Society for Blind and Partially Sighted People who will be building swift boxes for their local centre in the New Year.

To find out more about the RSPB, visit


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